Key first step: familiarize yourself with the DNSA collection
Read the collection description to get a sense of what's included. By doing this first, you'll find it easier to understand the context and importance of individual documents, which will in turn make it easier to use these sources in your research papers.
For example, start by reading this description for Chile and the United States. You'll learn:
• what kind of documents you can find - for example, operational memoranda from the CIA (internal documents) and transcripts of audio-tapes of conversations in the Oval Office
• major events and dates included in the collection (e.g. US efforts to undermine the Allende government, the Nixon administration's assistance in consolidating the rule of Pinochet, Operation Condor)
• presidential administrations and other leaders that were involved, and how many documents are available from each (e.g. Nixon 1,057; Reagan, 318)
• in the Research Value section, a list of some broader themes that could be explored through the documents